Immigration Reform?

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island, Manhattan, in New York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: receiving from Judge his certificate ...

English: receiving from Judge his certificate of American citizenship. Deutsch: erhält von Richter Phillip Forman seine Bescheinigung über die amerikanische Staatsbürgerschaft. Português: recebendo do juiz seu certificado de cidadão americano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English Language Camp 2008 SMK Taman Rinting 2...

English Language Camp 2008 SMK Taman Rinting 2 #224 (Photo credit: Roslan Tangah (aka Rasso))

I guess a lot of people think of me as a left-leaning liberal sort of guy…an old hippie with political and activist roots in the 60”s and early 70’s.  That may be true on many fronts but when it comes to the issue of immigration reform,.  depending on the various talking points, I swing from middle left to even further right.

First off I do not believe that we should hand citizenship to anyone who manages to successfully  sneak his or her way into this country. Are we to reward illegal behaviour?Why have any set of rules or guidelines if they are to be ignored?   Previous generations had to “pay their dues” and I don’t see why things should change in today’s world.

This country has many programs designed to TEMPORARILY assist the populace in times of need and trouble.  I believe that ANY ASSISTANCE given to immigrants must be contingent upon their application for citizenship, and their achieving legal status.  It is absurd to be disbursing funds from American programs to people who are not LEGALLY AMERICANS, particularly since these people do not contribute funds into the system which does nothing more than exacerbate the already overburdened economic situation.

ENGLISH, ENGLISH, SPEAK ENGLISH.  When my family arrived in New York back in the late 1930’s, one of their first priorities was to learn to speak English in an effort to  assimilate and ultimately succeed in their new land.  I simply do not understand why many of today’s immigrants look upon keeping their native language as some sort of “badge of honor”.  You came here for a myriad of reasons.  You hope to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities this country provides.  Many of those opportunities are predicated on communicating properly. SPEAK ENGLISH.  I believe that every immigrant needs to have at least a basic command of the English language prior to being granted citizenship.

Having said all of this, I don’t think we need to take an overtly punitive position on these people.  After all they are just looking for a better life,  as were many of our own parents and grandparents.  My father and his family came over from Sicily,  at a time when my grandfather’s political views didn’t exactly jive with Mussolini’s.  That said my father’s family went to great lengths,  went out of their way at every chance to become “Americans”,  and were extremely happy and proud to do so.  My father and my uncles didn’t jump ship and try to swim their way into America.  They went through the proper channels and did everything they could to become Americans in a sensible and legal. manner.

My solution is to streamline the system to make as many illegal immigrants LEGAL as quickly as we can.  Why?  To add MORE CONSUMERS and TAX PAYERS to the populace…two things we can certainly use in this era.  It also adds a wealth of human resources and talent to companies that complain jobs exist that many Americans wouldn’t even consider doing. Every generation of immigrants has started at the bottom.  A good way to learn the ropes of this wide open society.  The pathway to citizenship should be simple and fair!  And children of illegals born in this country,  or brought here at a very young age,  who are an integral part of the society should be immediately granted legal status.  I believe the system should require EFFORT on the part of immigrants that portrays their burning desire to become functioning citizens.  A system that requires EFFORT might also deter some of the people who wish to gain access for one reason and one reason only…create terror and mayhem.

Lastly I call upon our politicians to remember we are dealing with human beings from many different cultures and backgrounds that should be dealt with RESPECT, CARING and COMPASSION.  These people are more than just statistics or political affiliations or financial numbers.  They are people with a dream.  Dreams that so many have had before them.  Dreams that made this country great in the first place.  We need some of those dreams, some of those visions in this century. I believe today’s immigrants can invigorate and refresh the American society as a whole.

Supporting English language Learners with thei...

Supporting English language Learners with their vocabulary building (Photo credit: Ken Whytock)

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